BCTC NARA works with new UK Sports Medicine Research Institute to bring expertise to rider fitness and injury prevention

Published on Jun 16, 2017

Erica Herrforth rides a mechanical horse for biomechanics testingLEXINGTON, Ky. — Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s North American Racing Academy (NARA) has been working with the University of Kentucky’s new Sports Medicine Research Institute (SMRI) as part of UK’s equine jockey/rider injury prevention initiative. BCTC’s NARA was urged to participate by the Jockey’s Guild and Jockey Club Safety Committee, which NARA’s director, Remi Bellocq, serves on.

“Probably in January, we will start with our new group of incoming riding students,” said Bellocq. “The idea will be to work on selecting a few of the students, develop a baseline when they start, such as testing balance, BMI, fitness, visual acuity, etc., and see how that is impacted during the course of the semester, especially in the event the riders have a fall. We will be able to test for concussion and develop better protocols for jockeys.”

According to UK’s SMRI, the institute will be led by UK’s College of Health Sciences. Its research will be focusing on tactical athletes, as well as youth and collegiate-level athletes, to explore ways to minimize injury, optimize performance, and maximize career longevity and quality of life. SMRI will share evidence-based strategies and knowledge with the Commonwealth through clinics, workshops and presentations.

Photo caption: BCTC NARA student, Amanda Herrforth, was featured on the front of the Sports page in Thursday’s Lexington Herald-Leader. Herrforth, an aspiring jockey, rides a mechanical “equicizer” during media day at the new UK Sports Medicine Research Institute. She was hooked up with sensors to show how her fitness measures up. Photo by Charles Bertram, Lexington Herald-Leader.